Saudi critics and experts have called the unprecedented purge of top princes and businessmen a bold and risky move by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman aimed at consolidating power as he keeps an eye on the throne, sidelining potential rivals and dismantling alliances built with other branches of the royal family.
…Saudi Attorney General Saud al-Mojeb said 208 people had been called in for questioning, and that seven were released without charge, leaving 201 in custody.
…The stunning purge began overnight Saturday, initially catching 11 princes and 38 officials, military officers and business leaders. They are being held at five-star hotels, including the Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh.
…An estimated 1,700 individual bank accounts have been frozen.
…Based on investigations in the past three years, at least $100 billion has been misused through corruption and embezzlement.
…The government stressed that only personal accounts have been frozen, leaving businesses untouched.